Goodbye, Swimsuit Competition. Hello, ‘Miss America 2.0.’


“No amount of tweaking over the decades, from adding scholarships to mandating philanthropy, could obscure its bottom line,” she said. “Regardless of how smart or talented a woman is, she’s a loser without the one thing she can’t control or achieve: beauty.”

Tuesday’s announcement was quickly added to the lengthy list of stunning changes that have reverberated through Hollywood, politics and workplaces around the world in the wake of #MeToo. It was a ripple effect, so to speak — one that expanded the conversation from sexual harassment to the larger way that women’s bodies are viewed and consumed.

Still, it seemed like a small step to some.

“If Miss America wants to get out of the sexism game, it should probably end Miss America,” the writer Jill Filipovic posted on Twitter.

“Sure, it’s a relatively good thing that in 2018 this organization has realized it’s dehumanizing to compare and judge women’s bodies in front of a vast, international audience,” said Julie Zeilinger, the founder of a feminist blog called FBomb. “But when Gretchen Carlson says we are ‘not going to judge you on your outward appearance,’ the implication is that the competition will still judge women — just not by measures of blatant physical objectification.”

As for the women who threw bras and girdles into the garbage can on the Atlantic City boardwalk a half-century ago — and then infiltrated the event itself, draping a giant bedsheet from the balcony that read “Women’s Liberation” — they watched with wonder, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

[Read a New York Times article from 1968 about the protest.]

“What can I say?” said one of them, Robin Morgan, the author of more than 20 books of poetry and nonfiction, including the 1970 anthology “Sisterhood Is Powerful.” “After 50 years, this is a start.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here